Scottish Government guidance on testing key workers

Section: Policy into PracticeType: News Item Date Published: 28th April 2020

The Scottish Government published guidance regarding the expanded COVID-19 testing programme in Scotland and for testing of key workers.

Access to testing 

The Scottish Government provides guidance on who can access the expanded testing programme in Scotland.

The UK Government Testing Programme is establishing a range of additional testing capacity, including through a number of drive-thru testing centres in Scotland. This capacity will continue to expand to provide additional options for testing, including through home delivery.

To date tests have primarily been available to health and social care workers and emergency services.

The UK Government has already announced a significant expansion of the categories of key workers eligible for testing in England and the Scottish Government has now reviewed arrangements and determined the further priority key workers who may now access testing through this UK programme.

Key workers in the NHS and care sector will remain the top priority for testing in Scotland. They will continue to primarily access tests through existing NHS testing capacity.

This guidance can be found on the Scottish Government website (this link will take you away from our website) and sets out who can access the UK Government Testing Programme in Scotland and how they can do so.

Testing of key workers

The Scottish Government provides guidance on coronavirus testing for key workers who are showing symptoms.

The UK government has established a new network of Covid testing facilities for key workers. This programme runs alongside the existing programme of testing in the NHS for clinical purposes and testing of key workers in health and social care.

Testing will allow symptomatic key workers and their household members to know whether or not they have the virus. This will in turn keep essential services running.

What the changes mean for key workers in Scotland 

Access to COVID-19 testing in Scotland has been widened and will now be determined via a prioritisation matrix for key workers (this link will take you away from our website) that includes a broader range of private sector workers and essential services.

Priority for health and social care workers

Health and social care workers will continue to be primarily routed through NHS testing at local NHS facilities.

Current testing of key workers 

Health and social care workers in Scotland already access testing to enable them to return to work.

Additional sectors who are currently able to access testing, including through the UK programme, include health and social care staff, police officers, prison officers, fire service, ambulance service, and NHS 24 staff.

Who can now be tested

All symptomatic people categorised as key workers and members of their household can be tested.

The list of workers able to access testing comprises:

  • Staff delivering NHS services, providing social care to protect and care for the most vulnerable, all NHS staff and independent contractors working for the NHS, including community pharmacy and emergency dental care, and all social care staff who work with vulnerable people and the social care system, including care homes, care at home and children’s services
  • Staff with face-to-face roles in residential institutions with people in the care of the state, those who are working essential services with niche roles, where service resilience is at risk, including operational staff in prisons, staff working with looked after children, those working on critical national infrastructure (e.g. energy supply) with niche skills essential to maintain services safely and defence staff living in Scotland who fall within the MOD’s very highest priority category for testing
  • Essential workers in critical national infrastructure fundamental for safety and security, and life-line services. This includes defence personnel, environmental protection, animal health and welfare, funeral industry and staff working for third sector organisations supporting people and children who are vulnerable, including grant aided schools, food supply chain and food processing workers, and workers on medicines and pharmaceutical supply, chemicals supply, energy and water supply
  • Staff directly involved in delivering other essential services. This includes staff providing child care for key workers, public transport workers, postal services, financial services, supermarket workers, construction and essential public services, court and Crown Office staff
  • Staff involved in volunteering, or in nationally or locally significant industry important to economic sustainability and growth

For more information and to read the full guidance on testing visit the Scottish Government website (this link will take you away from our website).

We thought you might also like: